Two minutes and 22 seconds is all the Okotoks Oilers needed on Friday night to generate the offence needed to extend their regulation time unbeaten streak to seven games.
The Oilers scored three times within that time span late in the first period, and then held off a third period charge by the Grande Prairie Storm for a 3-2 victory at the Coca Cola Centre.
“Okotoks is a good team and we knew we had to be better with individual details and being on a game plan.” said Storm assistant coach Ryan Aasman, who ran the bench along with General Manager Mark Bomersback as head coach Matt Keillor served a one game suspension. “Unfortunately, in the first period we gave up three goals quickly just based on mental mistakes and just could not recover.”
Louis Jamernik (16:30), Marc Pasemko (18:09) and Noah Kim (18:52, PP) gave the Oilers a 3-0 lead after the first period in what was otherwise a fairly even period.
The Storm would crank up their game over the final 40 minutes, firing 33 shots at Okotoks netminder Ashton Abel over the final two periods, and 43 overall in the game. But the former Ernie’s Sports Experts Major Midget Storm goalie was sharp en route to being named the game’s first star.
The Storm finally got on the board at the 3:13 mark of the third, as Jackson Savoie banked a rebound off of Abel and into the net for his second goal of the season. The hosts would continue to mount pressure and eventually drew to within one with just 1:02 remaining as Ethan Strang batted home his fifth of the campaign.
“I loved our last two periods.” added Aasman. “To fire (over) 30 shots over two periods against a very good hockey club was great. The game was ugly at times but I thought the boys did a really good job making adjustments and working through adversity to try and get some chances to win a hockey game late.”
One area of concern for the club is the power play. It went 0-for-6 on Friday night, and is now just 2-for-29 on home ice this season.
“It comes down to execution.” said Aasman. “It filters down from your 5-on-5 play. If your execution is not good at 5-on-5, it is not going to translate to the power play. So we have to find ways to get the job done and get goals on the power play.”
The game was the first of two that the Storm will play at the Coca Cola Centre, as their home arena is hosting other pre-scheduled events. Aasman was very impressed with the atmosphere in the building on Friday night.
“It was a lot of fun to play in this barn. Lots of good energy. I thought our fans did a really good job of creating some energy for us and it kept snowballing for us in a good way. We are excited to come back here (Saturday) and play with lots of energy again.”
Canmore will provide the opposition on tonight, with puck drop set for 7:30.
Photography by Tim Louttit | Recap by Jeff Henson with EverythingGP
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